National Archaeological Museum of Naples (Also known as MANN), is one of the most important and complete European museums on the history of antiquity, thanks to the archaeological finds of the nearby cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia; it preserves prestigious finds of various kinds: statuary, frescoes, mosaics, furnishings, gems and much more.
What can i see?
The ground level houses the wonders of the Farnese Collection, with the magic of Greek and Roman statuary, which best represent the origins of European civilization.
This collection includes the large sculptures found in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, after the excavation work promoted by Pope Paul III. Simply wonderful, the sculpture of Hercules Farnese, one of the greatest works of humanity attributed to the Greek sculptor Lisippo and loved by giants of art such as Michelangelo Buonarroti. You can also admire the imposing statue of the Farnese Bull, a gigantic group of statues, built in a single block of marble. The largest and most complex sculpture in the museum, which has survived to this day, is preserved perfectly.
Of great importance are the collections dedicated to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabia, which contain mosaics, used to decorate the floors of the domus (ancient Roman houses) and statues, furnishings, and also examples of Roman painting, extremely uncommon in the international archaeological panorama.
The secret Cabinet section is very particular (for its explicit contents it is forbidden to children under 14 years of age), which displays evidence of Pompeian erotic culture, in particular there are the remains of the so-called Lupanari or the ancient closed houses of the city of Pompeii, where it was possible to devote himself to the pleasures of the flesh. In this way, everything that has to do with sex in Roman times is examined, also considering the religious, cultural and magical aspects echoed by this type of evidence.
Very interesting, and recently restored, are the two large inner courtyards that preserve pieces of great artistic value, in an environment that combines nature and history, for a great aesthetic comfort.
A real jewel is the so-called Sundial Hall (Salone della Meridiana in italian), an enormous space on the second floor, which houses and amazes the viewer with the majesty of its architecture, and the ceiling decorated with a fresco by Pietro Bardellino from 1781, depicting the theme of the virtues of Ferdinand IV and his wife Maria Carolina, protectors of the arts.
In the spaces of the hall, there is also the ancient statue of the Farnese Atlas dating from the second century. A.D. and represents the titan who with great effort, supports the celestial vault and the constellations.
Today the hall is also used for temporary exhibitions, some of which are of great value such as Pompeii and Europe (2016) or as the great exhibition on Antonio Canova (2019), which saw the arrival in Italy of great masterpieces from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, including the famous “Three Graces”.
In addition, the museum has an important Egyptian collection that can be considered as the second collection of Egyptian artifacts in Italy, after that of the Egyptian museum in Turin. It has more than 2500 finds including mummies, papyri and tablets that give us great information on the themes of burial and afterlife.
In short, the museum is a real treasure not to be missed!